Tasmania’s three SEABL clubs have joined forces to allay fears of their future after it was revealed Basketball Australia will withdraw its support of the national winter competition.
It is unclear what the competition will look like moving forward but Launceston Tornadoes chairwoman Janie Finlay, North-West Thunder president Tony Barker and Hobart Chargers boss David Bartlett all assured there would be a competition for their teams to play in next year.
Thursday’s development came after the Chargers took out the men’s title and the Torns finished women’s runners-up on Saturday.
It is reported that a plan could be for Tasmania’s teams to take part in a Victorian premier league comprising the state’s SEABL clubs, while Sydney teams would join NSW’s Waratah League.
A national end-of-season tournament involving the top four teams from each state-run league has also been floated – similar to what took place back in the Australian Club Championship days.
SEABL clubs voted to hand the running of the league to the national body, however, a distinct plan to rid itself of all competition governance is in full swing after handing the NBL back to its clubs not long ago.
“Basketball leagues will evolve and change as part of a natural development of the game; reviewing the role of the SEABL is a normal part of that evolution,” a joint Tasmanian clubs’ statement said.
“Our immediate focus is to continue playing in the SEABL in 2019; and the Tasmanian SEABL clubs are united and firmly committed to continuing to develop strong basketball pathways for young Tasmanians.
“At the conclusion of the current SEABL review, we will work to ensure our teams continue to play in Australia's premier winter league.”
Finlay said there was no question Australian needed a second-tier competition under the WNBL for Launceston to partake in.
She said the Trons would not be forced to fold and that basketball in general would continue on its upward trajectory.
“Whatever the league is, the Tornadoes will be there,” she assured fans.
“Tasmanian basketballers deserve it and clearly from the season we’ve had with three out of four SEABL teams playing finals is a testament to what is happening.
“We will continue to work with the Launceston community.
“With the strength and depth of our local bench, we’ve got an incredible future for the next 10 years.
“This year under Derrick Washington we were playing 16 and 17 year olds this year, which is exciting.”
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